1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pordenone, Il

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PORDENONE, IL (1483–1539), an eminent painter of the Venetian school, whose correct name was Giovanni Antonio Licinio, or Licino. He was commonly named Il Pordenone from having been born in 1483 at Corticelli, a village near Pordenone (q.v.) in Italy. He ultimately dropped the name of Licinio, having quarrelled with his brothers, one of whom had wounded him in the hand; he then called himself Regillo, or De Regillo. His signature runs “Antonius Portunaensis,” or “De Portunaonis." He was created a cavalier by Charles V.

As a painter Licinio was a scholar of Pellegrino da S. Daniele, but the leading influence which governed his style was that of Giorgione; the popular story that he was a fellow-pupil with Titian under Giovanni Bellini is incorrect. The district about Pordenone had been somewhat fertile in capable painters; but Licinio excelled them all in invention and design, and more especially in the powers of a vigorous chiaroscurist and flesh painter. Indeed, so far as mere flesh-painting is concerned he was barely inferior to Titian in breadth, pulpiness and tone; and he was for a while the rival of that great painter in public regard. The two were open enemies, and Licinio would sometimes afiect to wear arms while he was painting. He excelled Giorgione in light and shade and in the effect of relief, and was distinguished in perspective and in portraits; he was equally at home in fresco and in oil-colour. He executed many works in Pordenone and elsewhere in Friuli, and in Cremona and Venice; at one time he settled in Piacenza, where is one of his most celebrated church pictures, “ St Catherine disputing with the Doctors in Alexandria ”; the figure of St Paul in connexion with this picture is his own portrait. He was formally invited by Duke Hercules II. of Ferrara to that court; here soon afterwards, in 1539, he died, not without suspicion of poison. His latest works are comparatively careless and superficial; and generally he is better in male figures than in female—the latter being somewhat too sturdy—and the composition of his subject pictures is scarcely on a level with their other merits. Pordenone appears to have been a vehement self-asserting man, to which his style as a painter corresponds, and his morals were not unexceptionable. Three of his principal scholars were Bernardino Licinio, named Il Sacchiense, his son-in-law Pomponio Amalteo, and Giovanni Maria Calderari.

The following may be named among Pordenone's works: the picture of “ S Luigi Giustiniani and other Saints,” originally in S Maria dell' Orto, Venice; a “ Madonna and Saints ” (both of these in the Venice academy); the “ Woman taken in Adultery,” in the Berlin museum; the “ Annunciation,” at Udine, regarded by Vasari as the artist's masterpiece, now damaged by restoration. In Hampton Court is a duplicate work, the “ Painter and his Family ”; and in Burghley House are two fine pictures now assigned to Pordenone—the “ Finding of Moses ” and the “ Adoration of the Kings.” These used to be attributed to Titian and to Bassano respectively.